Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama Up in the Air, reviewed by Acquired Taste

Up in the Air, reviewed by Acquired Taste

Title: Up in the Air
Year: 2009
Run Time: 109 mins
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman.
Director: Jason Reitman

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a ‘transition specialist’. A term used to describe the fact that company’s hire him to fire their employees. He travels around downsizing for companies all year long, practically lives from his suitcase and has basically shut his family out of his life. His side career is based on this fact, motivational speaking about living your life without baggage. He also has an ego stroking ambition to clock 10 million frequent flyer miles, a feat achieved by only 6 other people. While visiting Dallas, he meets Alex (Vera Farmiga), a lady who we never quite understand what she does except for the fact that she travels about just as much as Bingham. They soon start off a tricky romantic relationship, due to their work schedules. Ryan’s boss, Craig Gregory (Jason Bateman) has hired Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), a fresh-out-of-collage zealous 23 year old and Natalie has come up with a revolutionary technique for firing employees over the internet. This essentially puts Ryan out of a job and interferes with his plan of hitting 10 million miles and Ryan tells Craig that this idea won’t work and challenges Natalie’s experience. Craig has Natalie tag along with Ryan to ‘learn the ropes’ and see whether her idea will work when implemented.

“I don’t know how you can live with yourself but I’m sure you’ll find a way while the rest of us are suffering .”

By now you must have heard all the praise about this movie and let me say it is deserved. I have personally been to see this film three times now and I can say the praise is worth it. This movie hits all the right notes in terms of themes, character conception & portrayal and directing.
Clooney puts the forward the performance of a lifetime and looks headed for an Oscar win. He plays his role so well and brings forth so much depth and flair. He manages to illicit so many emotions with his character, that you aren’t sure whether you envy, despise, admire or pity him.
Reitman (Thank you for smoking, Juno) does some brilliant storytelling. This adaption, which he co-wrote has a very authentic and unexaggerated feel. The premise is great and grips your imagination from the word go. I like the way he doesn’t use the actor’s sex appeal to grab your attention but lets you fall for their characters. He actually uses real terminated employees in the interview you see. Ryan and Alex’s romance does not feel outrageous and something out of a chic flick He does use some brilliantly taken aerial shots. And Bingham’s living-from-a-suitcase life is partly based on Reitman’s own life. His whole methodology when checking in to airports, hotels, which car hire company to use and so on is all Reitman.

What works:
George Clooney! I can’t say this enough. He seems so genuine and charming, it doesn’t seem like his playing a character, he seems like George being George.
Anna Kendrick. She really does bring Natalie to life with the naivety, the ambition and black & white view on life. When she does break down you do genuinely feel sorry for her.
Jason Bateman is quite good in this serious role and give forth a dignified performance as guy the you’d expect to hate but somehow you don’t.
Zach Galifianakis & J. K. Simmons have good cameos as terminated employees.
It’s touches on very relevant social themes.

What doesn’t work:
So I know it sounds perfect but I have to do this.
From a critical stand point, it’s brilliant. But this isn’t the same with the generally audience.
I mentioned I’ve watched this movie thrice, each time in groups of four. And none of my nine colleagues were wowed like I was. It simply isn’t resonating with people who just looking to be entertained. I don’t know why. And this is a problem for the film because the general audience will mark this film success and not the handful of critics.
A few mentioned that the big plot twist was predictable. I was so gripped I didn’t see it coming until a minute before it.

Who will enjoy this movie:
The critcs. The wannabe crictics. The filmophiles.
The ladies. The guys who are trying to impress the ladies with their taste in movies.

Must see? Yes. You have to. Must Have? Yes.

My Score: 9.3 out of 10

“Men get such hard-ons from putting their names on stuff. You guys just don’t grow up. It’s like you need to pee on everything.” – Anna Kendrick

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